Today's Post is by Lori Woodward, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. She also writes "The Artist's Life" blog on American Artists' Forum. Lori is a member of The Putney Painters, an invitational group that paints under the direction of Richard Schmid and Nancy Guzik. Find out how you can be a guest author.
Actually, I'm the woman in the mirror... but I like the alliteration with the M's.
Recently I wrote a post for Fine Art Views, saying that if I begin working on my New Year's resolutions now (in early November) that by the time January first arrives, I will be living my resolutions.
In this busy month of December, my thoughts return to who I hope to be in 2011 - a new and improved version of myself. Goals are reached in small steps; making dramatic changes overnight isn't logical - at least not for human beings. While some people might be able to morph themselves into their dream persona quickly, that's never worked for me.
As I look forward to what CAN BE in 2011, as I make small daily changes and give up spending too much time worrying about the unimportant things, I can focus on the things that matter in the long run. I love making lists, but either lose them or never get around to actually doing them, but now I want to be a woman of action. I don't care what's on the list so much as I care about how I live, what I actually do (instead of saying what I'm going to do).
Dreams are Attained Through Actions
Without daily and repeated action, there is no change. Without action there is no improvement.
So today, I'm taking a look into the mirror and asking myself who do I want to see in that mirror? Of course, it's still gonna be Lori - but what new and improved version of Lori might I see? What two or three things must happen for me to feel like I'm living the life I long to live? I'm going to be specific in my descriptions here, and not bother making a long list because long lists are just another excuse to avoid doing any of it.
1. I want to see less flab and more muscle.
2. I want to see myself holding up an (18x24 or larger) masterfully painted landscape. (or several)
3. I want to see a genuine smile on my face - one that comes from gaining satisfaction from relationships and work.
Yeah, there's the house, the yard, cooking, and all those other every day things that go with life... but if I let those become an excuse to not achieve my greatest desires, nothing will change. Then when I look in the mirror, I see the same person I was yesterday - not a bad person, mind you, but not my optimal self either. In order to become great at anything, one must make sacrifices. I'm not saying you should put your work goals before relationships, but you can be considerate and nice to others on a daily basis and still pursue your dreams. Explain to them how important it is that you become that new and improved version of yourself. I hope, for your sake that the people who are close to you support your efforts.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the most successful artists spend the majority of their time working. Real work... difficult work... work that stretches their abilities. As Malcolm Gladwell states, it takes 10,000 hours to master anything. When I was taking tennis in college, the coach said one had to hit 600,000 tennis balls to get to the professional level. But I'll take this analogy further, just hitting balls or doing something without improvement, focus, or education doesn't necessarily make you an expert. Experts know what they're doing, they know where they need to get and they stay on that road steadily until they reach it.
So today, I exercise! Today, paint - without interruption! Day by day, the image in the mirror I wish to see will match the image I do see.
This article originally appeared at http://woodwardsimons.com/blog/25651/the-man-in-the-mirror